Episode 9

In Episode 9 I discuss the research on how the fiber arts can serve as protective factors in the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive problems.  Along the way, I ramble about what’s going on in my bubble world, introduce a new class project, express my excitement over some small knitting projects, and make some final comments about The House of the Seven Gables.  Someone dear to me made the Dean’s List this week.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are very picky about spelling.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Two giveaways in our group end on October 31 (that’s today)!!!

First is the Teacher Tribute where you write a letter and mail it to someone who has taught you something meaningful.  This person can be a teacher from your formal education or it can be a friend, family member, mentor, etc.  If you haven’t already entered your tribute, do it now — mail your letter and then go over to our Teacher Tribute thread and post a brief tribute.  Two prize winners will be drawn at random after the thread closes:  One will win a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the second will win a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios!

The second giveaway is for a free knitting pattern book entitled Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century by Deborah Tomasello.  I reviewed this book on last week’s show, and it contains 12 beautiful patterns that YOU CAN DO!  To win a free copy of this book, go over to this thread on our Ravelry group and post (1) What is your favorite pattern from this book, and (2) In what colors would you knit it?  After this thread closes, I will draw one random winner from all the posts, and that person will receive a free copy of the e-book for their personal library.  Go post NOW…the deadline is today!

Around Campus

Happy Halloween!  In this segment I talk about the dreary, rainy weather we’ve been having and the fall harvest.  The other day I went for a walk — it was a beautiful day and I took some pictures.

Pretty fall colors on the trees around town

Pretty fall colors on the trees around town

Some pictures from my walk in the nature preserve -- it has areas of forest, grassland prairie, and a pretty stream

Some pictures from my walk in the nature preserve — it has areas of forest, grassland prairie, and a pretty stream

My dog Sunny

My dog Sunny

For Halloween, I also tell you about our local ghost story.  It’s about a bridge called Crybaby Bridge (here is a picture) and it’s kind of spooky!

Crybaby Bridge:  It might not look so scary in the daytime, but don't go there at night!  Unless you dare...

Crybaby Bridge: It might not look so scary in the daytime, but don’t go there at night! Unless you dare…

A Class Project

It’s time for a new class project, should you wish to participate.  We are starting a new Pen Pal Pair-Up because a number of people have expressed enthusiasm about doing this.  I’ve opened a new Pen Pal thread on Ravelry, so go over there and check out the instructions, fill out the questionnaire, and email it to me on Ravelry.  The deadline for signing up is November 22, and you have to be a member of our group to participate.

While we’re on the subject of pen pals, listener Texasmidwife (Jennifer) provided some great information about an organization called Postcrossing, where you can send and receive post cards to/from around the world.  It’s a fun way to connect with people from lots of different countries and doesn’t require a long-term commitment to be a pen pal with one person.  If this is something you’d like to get involved with, click on the link above and sign up–it’s free.

The Dean’s List

This week I commend my friend, Jodie, who has knit over 1600 hats for children’s cancer charities over the past five years.  She is currently on hat number 1637 (as of yesterday–she’s likely on number 1638 today).  Her motivation for doing this is in memory of her step-father, Charlie, who who succumbed to multiple myeloma in 2007.  I tell her story and offer my gratitude for all the good work she does.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

You might notice some pomp and circumstance this week.  :)

GRADUATED:  Yay!  I finished some hats for charity.  It was nice to have some fairly easy projects that I could finish quickly.  The instant gratification was just the diversion I  needed.  Here are three hats I finished this week.

Hats to be donated to the  needy

Hats to be donated to the needy

I used a pattern called Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry.  Although it calls for bulky yarn, I just used Cascade 220 Superwash held double on 16-inch U.S. size 11 circular needles.

SOPHOMORE:  Sock Circle Update

I am a sock circle LOSER.  I’ve had Pati’s socks for three weeks now (a whole week overdue!) and have not finished turning the heels.  I also now have Cheryl’s socks which are the next in line.  Now that I have taken a little break and finished some charity hats, I am ready to get back into sock mode.

At the Library

I finished reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne this week.  I give a little review of what I liked as well as some interesting tidbits of information about what inspired Hawthorne to write this story.

Thank you to all who posted suggestions for classic horror novels for me to read for Halloween.  Based on the encouragement of several people, I am going to try The Turn of the Screw and hope it is not too scary for me!

In the Classroom

Today’s lesson is about how leisure activities like the fiber arts can protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.  I talk about several studies that investigated people’s daily activities in the context of aging.  Researchers have actually studied things like knitting, crocheting, and weaving (even letter writing in one study) to see how they relate to cognitive abilities, intelligence, and memory.  I also talk about one of my favorite ongoing studies in this area, which is the Nun Study being run out of the University of Minnesota.  It started in 1991 and is still going on today.  The participants are all Catholic nuns who are over the age of 75.  In fact, many of them are over 100 years old.  Nearly 700 nuns agreed to participate, and they are regularly assessed on their cognitive abilities and daily activities.  All the nuns have agreed to donate their brains to the research team after their deaths so that the researchers can analyze the brains for signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  For a nice summary of some of the most interesting findings from the Nun Study, watch this short Youtube video (about 4 minutes long).

 Nun Study Video

Episode 8

At last, Episode 8 is here!  I talk about my trip to Nevada and the Bishop Hill Spin-In in Peoria, Illinois.  I share some of my knitting with you, review an e-book of beautiful colorwork patterns, and discuss my latest read.  You might not be surprised at the Dean’s List, if you know me well.  In the classroom our topic is anthropomorphism and the way we think about other people and things.

Welcome to new and returning listeners and everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are outstanding spellers.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

I’ve had too much going on this month!  All that, coupled with internet problems and web site issues has meant a longer-than-expected delay for Episode 8.  Thank you for your patience.

I was in Reno, Nevada for the first week of October visiting family.  While I was in town, I stopped by one of my favorite online yarn shops, Jimmy Beans Wool — their brick & mortar store is in the Reno area.  For souvenir yarn, I picked up some MCN sock yarn by All for Love of Yarn and baby merino DK by Unraveled Designs, which is a local dyer, Rachel, and she works at Jimmy Beans so I got to meet her!

Left:  All for the Love of Yarn Opulence Fingering (MCN) in the Pink Dawn colorway; Right: Unraveled Designs baby merino DK in the Tahoe Skies colorway

Left: All for the Love of Yarn Opulence Fingering (MCN) in the Pink Dawn colorway; Right: Unraveled Designs baby merino DK in the Tahoe Skies colorway

Last Saturday I went to the Bishop Hill Spin-In in Peoria, Illinois as a vendor.  I had a great time and got some new and fabulous yarn from my booth neighbors.  On one side of my booth was Knit and Fiber Creation, where I got some luscious sparkly yarn which is 75% merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stellina.  It is the Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway.

Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway from Knit and Fiber Creation's Game of Thrones collection

Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway from Knit and Fiber Creation’s Game of Thrones collection

My other neighbor was Leading Men Fiber Arts, the awesome team of Steve and Andy.  From them I got some Soliloquy (100% BFL) fingering weight yarn in the Tranquil colorway and the Dramaturg (100% merino) DK weight yarn in the Industrial colorway.  If you haven’t already, you should watch Steve’s video podcast, Dramatic Knits!

spinin

Reminders and Announcements

Remember to do your teacher tribute and enter our prize giveaway by October 31 — that’s next week.  Write a letter to someone who has taught you something meaningful, send the letter in the mail, and then post a brief tribute to that person on our Ravelry thread.

 

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

SOPHOMORE:  Sock Circle Socks

I passed on Sally’s socks to Gail and now am working on Pati’s socks.  I’m turning the heel for this week’s section.

I completed my section of Sally's socks with Decadently Divine Decadent Sock using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson

I completed my section of Sally’s socks with Decadently Divine Decadent Sock using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson

 

As you can see, I haven't made much progress on Pati's sock yet...

As you can see, I haven’t made much progress on Pati’s sock yet…

 

FRESHMAN:  A Vest for Myself

This is a pattern I got at Serendipity Yarn Shoppe along with the yarn I am using to knit it.  The weird thing is that the pattern does not have a title or a designer listed on it.  I am trying to find out from the yarn shop where the pattern is from so I can link it here.  Until then, I will just show you a picture of the finished vest which is featured on the first page of the printed pattern.

This is the picture on the front of the vest pattern.  Do you recognize it?  Let me know, because I have no idea of the name of it or the designer!

This is the picture on the front of the vest pattern. Do you recognize it? Let me know, because I have no idea of the name of it or the designer!

Beginning of my vest -- using Prairie Spun Jacob's Heritage Wool from  High Prairie Fibers

Beginning of my vest — using Prairie Spun Jacob’s Heritage Wool from High Prairie Fibers

 

 A Book Review

I review Deborah Tomasello’s new book, Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century.  It contains 12 nice patterns — my favorites are the shawls.

NEW PRIZE GIVEAWAY:  Deborah is giving a copy of her e-book to one lucky Ewe University listener!  To win this book, go to the Ravelry thread and post your favorite pattern out of the book — which one would you knit AND in what colors?

 

The Dean’s List

This week I celebrate the U.S. Postal Service.  When you think about it, postage is really inexpensive — a first-class letter costs only 46 cents to mail.  You can’t even drive to the next town for that price!  And international mail is only $1.10.  Plus, the post office remained open and our mail service was not interrupted during the recent government shutdown because the post office does not receive any government funding.  They are self-funded through the sale of postage.  So  it’s important that we buy postage stamps…plus our cards and letters bring joy to our loved ones. :)

 

At the Library

First, a reminder that I’m still taking suggestions for classic horror novels to read for Halloween.  Post your recommendations on our Ravelry thread!

This  month I started reading The House of the Seven Gables because I thought it was going to be kind of spooky.  I hadn’t read it before, and I thought it was time that I read this classic.  I’m on Chapter 17 and am finding it to be a good book.  It is very melancholy and dark with an overall theme of decay and the evil and sinful side of human nature.  But it is not horror.  It is probably considered “gothic fiction” or “dark romanticism” but definitely not horror.  Still, it’s a gloomy story so you might consider it a good read for Halloween season.  I talk briefly about the real house that was the inspiration for this book, too.

 

In the Classroom

In this lesson I talk about anthropomorphism (a word that is VERY difficult for me to spell!!!), where we think about non-human things like pets, computers, cars, and spinning wheels as having human characteristics.  I cover the background on how anthropomorphism is part of automatic processing and how we mindlessly apply human interaction rules to our interactions with non-humans, too.  Research indicates three basic motivations for anthropomorphizing:  it’s easy to relate something new to something we know a lot about (humans), needing to feel in control of our environment, and motivation for social connection.  Listen in and find out more about them!

 

Episode 7

In Episode 7 we go on a field trip! I recorded earlier this week because I am out of town until the middle of next week. (Note, Episode 8 may be a little late because of this.) I also talk about my birthday adventures, our 99-member prize drawing, and the small amount of knitting I got done this week. I share some final vampire info as we finish Dracula. The Dean’s list might surprise you!

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are experts at the proper use of the apostrophe.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

I visited a favorite LYS, Serendipity Yarn Shoppe in Muscatine, Iowa.  There I bought some Jacobs Wool by High Prairie Fibers.  I’ve never  knit with Jacobs wool and didn’t know much about it so did a little research on this rare breed of sheep, at least in the U.S.  Here is a picture of a Jacobs sheep:

image

And here is my yarn, which I’m planning on making a vest out of:

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I also talk about my adventures in and around the small town of Henry, Illinois — the site of the first lock and dam on the Illinois River.

DSCN2290

That little “island” is a remnant of the old lock and dam

There is also a cool old lighthouse which was built by “Steamboat Elsie” out of stones from the original lock and dam:

image

Image from the town of Henry’s website because I didn’t get a picture of it. My camera battery died. :(

Henry was also the home to Charles and Edna Perdew, who are famous makers of duck decoys and duck calls.  Their house and workshop are being restored and turned into a museum.

Perdew House in Henry

Perdew House in Henry

Wow, who knew so much was going on in a tiny town in central Illinois!

Awards and Scholarships

This week we reached (and exceeded!) 99 members in our Ravelry group, so I did the 99-member Giveaway!  The winner was sokyknitter, who is Sally from Kentucky — congratulations, Sally!!  Sally won 2 skeins of gorgeous Claudia Handpainted yarn in the Magician’s Cape colorway, which was generously donated by Lauren (tskmstr on Ravelry).  A huge thank you goes out to Lauren for this donation!  The prize is already on its way to Sally.

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away in celebration of 99 group members on Ravelry

 A Class Project

Until the end of October we are working on a class project called the Teacher Tribute.  Acknowledge someone who has been a meaningful teacher in your life (could be formal educational setting or a more informal setting like someone from your family or a friend).  Write a letter to this person and mail it via old-fashioned snail mail.  Then go to our Ravelry thread and post a brief tribute to this person.  Everyone who completes this class project by the October 31 deadline will be entered into a drawing for two fabulous prizes.

The Dean’s List

This week I applaud Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company for her awesome Youtube video tutorials on sewing and quilting techniques.  I have learned a lot from her!

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

This week I don’t have a lot of knitting content, as I’ve mostly been working on small projects.

GRADUATED:  Fingerless Mitts for my niece

This is the Happily Ever After pattern by Susan B. Anderson (free on Ravelry).  I used Panda Soy yarn, which is a blend of bamboo, soy, and elastic/nylon on a U.S. size 2 (s.75mm) 9-inch circular needle.

DSCN2346

SOPHOMORE:  I think the sock circle socks have reached sophomore status.  I am currently working on Sally’s socks — adding my section to them.

DSCN2348Sally started with the lime green cuffs (right side of photo), then Rose added the stripes in a cable pattern.  In my section I’m using Decadently Divine Decadent Sock, which is 75% merino and 25% nylon.  I decided to keep using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson.  This project is on my Hiya Hiya Sharps, size U.S. 1 (2.25mm) 9-inch circular needles.

At the Library

This week I finished listening to Dracula!  I give the book 5 stars and the main reader, Greg Wise, 5 stars as well.

I’m still in the market for classic horror novel recommendations.  I decided to spend all of October reading classic horror instead of reading just one for Halloween.  So if you have any suggestions, please post them on our Ravelry thread.

In Episode 7 I talk about the history of vampire myths and some interesting research into the matter.  I cover the research of Katharina Wilson, a professor at the University of Georgia on the earliest written descriptions of vampire superstitions as well as the first use of the word “vampire.”  I also go into a couple of interesting theories that have been proposed to explain vampire legends.  The first is University of British Columbia biochemist David Dolphin‘s theory that vampires may have been nothing more than people suffering from a rare genetic disease called porphyria.  Although intriguing, this theory has pretty much been dismissed by medical experts.  However, another theory seems more promising.  Dr. Juan Gomez-Alonso, a Spanish neurologist, proposes that rabies may be the key in the development of vampire legends.  I talk about how this theory can explain pretty much all vampire characteristics.

Field Trip!

The last weekend in September every year is National Alpaca Farm Days where alpaca farms all across America hold open houses and welcome visitors to meet the alpaca and learn about them.  This week’s episode features a field trip to Heartland Criations, a local alpaca farm that I visited.  In the show I talk about this farm and about alpaca in general.  Here are some pictures:

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Entrance to the farm

The alpaca barn, which is very nice and spacious

The alpaca barn, which is very nice and spacious

One of the alpaca boys — he was curious and sooooo cute!

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Some of the female alpaca grazing in the front pasture

A little boy gets to pet one of the alpaca (adorable!)

A little boy gets to pet one of the alpaca (adorable!)

Some of the younger males in the barn

Some of the younger males in the barn

One of the llamas that are used as guard animals. They are bigger than alpaca and also have crescent shaped ears.

DSCN2249

Pam, Laurie, and Becky — friends and Ewe U listeners who were visiting the farm 

Comparison of suri and huacaya alpaca

I did take a few videos of the alpaca but could not get them to post here — sorry!   But if you have a chance to visit an alpaca farm in person, I’m confident you will enjoy it!